FIU looks to beat the Hurricanes at Mark Light

FIU Hurricanes Mark Light

Coral Gables, FL – After a disappointing weekend where FIU ended up dropping two out of three against Western Kentucky, the Panthers’ schedule doesn’t get much easier as they now take a quick 15-minute road trip to the Mark Light Stadium at the University of Miami to face off against the Miami Hurricanes.

Led by Yohandy Morales and a lethal top-of-the-order, the Canes currently sit at 31-16 as they swept Presbyterian scoring a total of 37 runs throughout all three games. Against FIU, the Hurricanes haven’t lost since 2018. The past two games though have been a lot more competitive, but have gone in the way of the Hurricanes.

In game one, although FIU dropped the game to a final score of 7-3, the Panthers looked like the better team throughout most of the night as they were tied 3-3 until the ninth inning which is when the Hurricanes’ offense woke up and scored four runs to win it.

Game two was the same song and dance except this time, the Panthers were one strike away from winning the game. After leading 5-3 throughout most of the game, right fielder Zach Levinson crushed a walk-off three-run homer to win the game to a final score of 6-5.

This time around, it feels as if the Panthers are bound to win at least one of the next two games against the Canes. Ryne Guida is currently riding an 11-game hitting streak and the Panthers offense looked good on Friday when they scored eight runs on 13 hits. The pitching was also good for FIU throughout most of the game as Angel Tiburcio through six innings and on Sunday, Kevin Martin was also really good, throwing 5 1/3 innings and striking out four.

As for the Canes, the big worry is the top of the order. As we all know, the star name of this Hurricanes team is third baseman Yohandy Morales who currently ranks as the number 23 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Morales is currently on a tear, slashing .390/.460/.651/1.112 with 11 home runs and 48 RBIs. the 6’4″, 225-pound Cuban American is set to have a big game against a struggling FIU Pitching staff at times.

Outside of Morales, the Canes have a showcase of depth that is some of the best in college baseball. CJ Kayfus, who is the team’s first baseman is having himself a season to remember. Slashing .331/.450/.581/1.032 with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs. Kayfus will most likely be drafted in the later rounds, but he definitely will be a well-known prospect soon.

True Freshman Blake Cyr is someone who has opened up many eyes as he not only leads the team in home runs at 13 and is slashing .293/.392/.599/.991 with 47 RBIs. Although the top of the order is loaded with talent, Cyr is usually in the lower portion of the lineup that should not be slept on at all.

Finally, the man who hit the walk-off to win game two of the stretched-out four-game set Zach Levinson. Slashing .297/.394/.529/.923 with nine home runs and 33 RBIs. Think that after the walk-off, the FIU pitching staff will throw at him carefully.

Outside of the star-studded top of the lineup, the Canes have one player who is worth mentioning. Redshirt Freshman Lorenzo Carrier, who stands at 6’5″, 225 pounds has the body of an Aaron Judge and currently slashing .310/.364/.638/1.002 with four home runs and 18 RBIs. The issue is that he is a Redshirt freshman and has only played 24 games.

The Canes bullpen is one of the best in college baseball as it is led by Andrew Walters who has a 1.50 ERA and seven saves on the season. If the Panthers have to see him at any point in the game, so know that FIU will be in trouble despite the hitter that is up at the plate.

FIU does have a chance to win if they attack the starting pitcher early on. The Canes will likely go with one of their weaker starters or a bullpen game on Wednesday as it isn’t a conference game and they have more riding on their season when it comes to their qualification to play in Omaha for the college baseball tournament. As for FIU, if we could make an educated guess on who will start, the best bet would be Christian Santana who hasn’t made a start in a while. Other options include Joel Pinero who started against Bethune-Cookman last week, and Orlando Hernandez who has made some starts before.

Final Score: FIU wins, 5-4

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